Beja: Travel and tourism

Santo Amaro Church
Santo Amaro Church
The vast, sun-baked plains of Alentejo, where you can drive for miles among wheatfields and olive trees without seeing a soul, also encompass many towns and villages which reflect the long moorish occupation, with narrow streets, amazingly whitewashed houses and decorative tiles.

In some places, like Beja, History goes back even further, to the Roman times, when it became a regional capital under Julius Caesar. The Moorish arquitecture is visible in the cobbled streets and houses of the old town, and a castle from the 13th century reminds us of the struggle to keep them away.

Another castle of equally Moorish origins and later rebuilt by the same king Dinis, in the 13th century, can be seen in Serpa, but the main attraction of this peaceful agricultural town, also known for its cheese, is Porta de Beja: huge walls topped by an aqueduct, with a doorway marked by two towers which guard its entrance.

Serpa stands near the border and, as this region was once disputed both from the moors and spaniards, there are several watch-towers and fortresses along the hills.

The vineyards around Vidigueira announce its position as a centre of wine production; the Alentejo offers several fine quality wines.

Mértola is another place to visit: this small town is a sort of museum, exhibiting discoveries form different eras in separate areas, from the phoenicians to the romans and moors.
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Hotel Rural Vila Galé Clube de Campo Hotel Rural Vila Galé Clube de Campo
Albernoa, Beja
$$$$ (100 to 150 euros)

Wake up, forget the traffic jams or the crowded beaches and take a walk or go cycling around the property to see the deer, bulls, cows, pigs and horses.

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